A large study may have just found the secret to living longer. A team of researchers recently discovered that people who exercise in the afternoon cut their risk of dying prematurely due to heart disease.

In a study published in the Nature Communications journal last week, scientists stated the timing of daily behaviors or activities affects health. And since there's little known about the best time to engage in physical activity for maximum health benefits, they looked into the associations of timing physical activity with all-cause and cause-specific mortality.

The team performed a cohort study of 92,139 UK Biobank participants with accelerometer data and all-cause and cause-specific mortality outcomes. They analyzed data after grouping the participants based on the time and frequency of their exercise. They examined the participants’ seven-day activity data and tracked their mortality records.

The researchers determined that moderate-to-vigorous physical activity at any time of the day lowered the risks for all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality. However, the lower mortality risk was more pronounced in those who performed midday-to-afternoon exercise.

According to the team, participants benefited the most from physical activity between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. The effect was mostly observed in men, the elderly and less physically active people. The researchers noticed that it was the period when people were least likely to suffer a heart attack.

Dr. Randy Goodroe explained that heart attacks are more likely to occur in the morning. He is an interventional cardiologist with Grand Strand Heart & Vascular Care in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

“Most heart attacks hit during the early morning hours from 4 [to] 10 a.m., when blood platelets are stickier, and there is increased adrenaline released from the adrenal glands that can trigger rupture of plaques in coronary arteries,” Goodroe said in a 2022 article, according to the New York Post.

The team also reported that those who exercised in the evening and at different times of the day tended to have shorter sleep duration. Meanwhile, the morning group had a lower education level than the other groups in the study.

Earlier this month, a different study found that the best time to exercise was in the morning because it’s the perfect period to boost fat metabolism. The researchers said performing high-intensity exercise in the morning could ensure weight loss.

Exercise with Face Mask
Woman in protective mask doing hyperextension exercise outdoors. Pexels